Caramel sauce on a keto diet is like a dream come true! Especially when the ingredients are this simple. So grab a pot and a wooden spoon and lets get to simmering this luscious sauce that Grace and I created as we were writing Growing Up Keto.
Making a keto caramel sauce has two key hurdles. First, get the right sweeteners. Second, determine how long to simmer to thicken the sauce to your preference.
For the sweeteners, I’ve experiment with three: erythritol, xylitol, and allulose. You need a sweetener that will caramelize. Xylitol is the best at caramelizing, followed by allulose, and erythritol, which isn’t going to brown quite as well. The con for xylitol is that it’s toxic to pets, has a slightly higher glycemic index, and, in large quantities, can cause upset stomach. Allulose caramelizes nicely and is safe for pets; however, it yields a very soft finished texture. To me, it has an odd mouthfeel. If overconsumed, it can also have a laxative effect. Erythritol doesn’t caramelize as well as the first two, can have a slight cooling effect when used without other sweeteners, and becomes grainy when chilled.
After testing this sauce at least a dozen different ways, my family’s favorite was using a combination of allulose and xylitol. I use them half and half to yield the best flavor and texture. You can use any ½ cup of sweetener that you prefer from the three I’ve named here, but keep in mind that your results will vary depending on sweeteners.
As for how long to simmer the sauce, that depends. If you want a smooth, pour-able caramel, then simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes. If you want a much thicker, richer caramel that will have a slight chew when refrigerate, then let the sauce simmer for at least 20-22 minutes. Use the color of the sauce to guide you. The darker the caramel, the thicker it will be when it cools.
Also, be sure to set the timer after the butter is melted and everything has started to simmer, not before. Remember that it will thicken up as it cools. It may take some delicious trial and error to find exactly how much time to simmer to your desired thickness.
Last, be sure to simmer on low heat. The sauce can burn if you don’t keep an eye on it.
Once finished, enjoy a teaspoon or two in your morning coffee, have a dollop over homemade ice cream, or enjoy eating it straight from the spoon!
Makes about 1 cup
½ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup allulose*
¼ cup xylitol*
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon maple extract (optional, see notes)
Heat the butter and heavy cream in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Stir in the sweetener and salt and bring to a simmer over low heat. After the mixture is simmering, set a timer for 12 minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon and let simmer until the color becomes deep amber and leaves a thick coating on the back of a spoon, at least 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the extracts. Let cool before pouring into a glass jar. Store at room temperature for 2-3 days or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. This sauce also freezes well.